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Source: The Namibian
A 2013 UNAIDS assessment report has revealed that about 35% of men believe that it is justifiable to strike their wives, while one in three women felt that it is justifiable that husbands beat their wives.

The report titled 'Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Namibia: An Exploratory Assessment and Mapping of GBV Response Services in Windhoek', states that the findings were extracted through a survey of knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to gender-based violence with 34% of respondents saying they have experienced physical gender-based violence at least once in their lives.

"By dis-aggregating by sex, however, it becomes clear that women are the majority of GBV victims with 40.5% of women as opposed to 27.6% of men experiencing GBV," states the report. The report states that one of the reasons for the high prevalence of GBV in Namibia is the widespread cultural acceptance of violence perpetrated on the basis of gender.

"Paying lobola allows a man to beat his wife or mistreat her. This is because it is like she was bought and she has no right to complain," said the report.

During the deliberations on issues of GBV at the Namibia Institute for Public Administration and Management this week, both Health Minister Richard Kamwi and Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Rosalia Nghidinwa stressed the need to reverse negative traditional beliefs that directly contribute to GBV, such as the belief that men have the right to discipline their partners to enforce obedience.

The report also highlighted that rape was the most prevalent crime between January and April last year with 122 reported cases within those two months.

"On average, there have been approximately 1075 reported cases of rape nationwide for each of the past few years.

However, it is likely that the number of actual rape and other incidences of sexual and physical violence is much higher than indicated as survivors often do not report the violence due to fear of reprisal from the perpetrator, family pressure, self-blame and societal stigma and discrimination," said the report. Of these rape victims, the report states, one third are below the age of 18, it stated.

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